This year, the Emperor of Japan has declared his wish to abdicate. Inevitably, this has led to great discussion in the United Kingdom over whether or not Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II could stand down also. Not only is this suggestion inherently incorrect, it is also deeply offensive and disrespectful to a diligent monarch who has steadfastly served her realms without complaint.
First, let us look at why The Queen will never abdicate, before we move on to why it is so wrong to even suggest it:
On the 2nd of June 1953, Elizabeth Windsor sat before the Archbishop of Canterbury, about to make the largest commitment the world has to offer.
“Madam, is your Majesty willing to take the Oath?” the archbishop said. By replying “I am willing”, the young royal was made ready to take the oath which would govern the rest of her life.
“Will you solemnly promise and swear to govern the Peoples of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, and of your Possessions and the other Territories to any of them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective laws and customs?” – This is the first part of the Coronation Oath. In this, the then Princess Elizabeth took responsibility for the governance of the peoples in all her realms and territories.
In the next part of the Oath, she would swear to “cause Law and Justice, in Mercy, to be executed in all your (her) judgements.”
The final part of the Oath, however, is the most significant:
“Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?”
Of course, The Queen answered that she would do so, and became arguably the most powerful person on the planet.
The Oath was made in a religious ceremony before God. The Queen made a commitment, not only to her people, but to God. By her Christian creed she is bound to govern her dominions with faith, fairness and solemnity. To abdicate would be to violate her oath before God. This is why The Queen cannot and will not abdicate.
It can also be considered disrespectful to speculate that Her Majesty may abdicate.
The Queen is a devout Christian, and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. She believes that the Coronation Oath is a religiously binding promise to God. To question this is to call into doubt her fundamental beliefs. It is deeply offensive to one of Britain’s most dutiful and beloved monarchs, who has given her life to the maintenance of monarchy and good governance.
Can we all stop this offensive gossip, please?
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